The retail sale of alcoholic beverages (generally, any beverage with greater than 0.5% alcohol by volume) is regulated by the state government. Within the government of the State of Florida, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT). The ABT is the agency responsible for licensing the alcoholic beverage industry, for collection and auditing of taxes and fees paid by the licensees, and for enforcing the laws and regulations of the alcoholic beverage industry.
More and more property owners want to include breweries in their commercial spaces. As one example, here’s a listing for a commercial development in Eustis looking for a brewery tenant. Property owners recognize that brewery/taprooms bring in people.
I am personally inviting you to Florida Craft’s Kickoff Event, Wednesday, October 15, from 5 pm to 8 pm at Redlight Redlight in Orlando.
As many of you know, the Brewers’ Law team has for the last year been deeply focused on helping Florida beverage manufacturers—brewers, winemakers, and distillers—with the legal and regulatory steps for launching and operating their businesses. We’ve learned a couple of things from this experience: beverage laws are crazy and craft beverage makers are wonderful, hardworking, talented people fully deserving of their communities’ support. That’s why we helped create Florida Craft.
Florida Craft is a grassroots, non-profit association that supports and promotes Florida craft beverage manufacturers. It’s goal is to build community behind our craft beverage makers. We’re doing that in a big way on October 15, with our Kickoff Event. Please stop by, say hello, and have a Florida craft beverage (note: other states will be represented). It’s a come-and-go-as-you-please event, but I’ll be speaking with Redlight Redlight’s co-owner and master brewer, Brent Hernandez at about 6:30.
If you can’t make it to our Kickoff Event, don’t worry—you can still support Florida Craft. Join as a Florida Craft member and get your Florida Craft Card™. The Florida Craft Card™ gets your discounts and specials at Florida craft retailers throughout Florida. Participating retailers are stepping-up to help Florida Craft, and you can do your part by having a drink. How hard is that?
Thanks for supporting Florida Craft. Remember: You could drink a craft beverage made outside Florida, but why?
Choosing the location for your new Florida brewery, winery, or distillery is a big moment in the life of your beverage business. Before making a final decision, answer these five questions about the location.
The Florida law outlawing the 64 oz growler was never about the 64 oz growler.
Prior to 2001, the Florida Statutes limited the size of beer containers to 8 oz, 12 oz, 16 oz, 32 oz or 1 gallon and over. That had been the law since 1965, when the limitation on container sizes was first introduced. A record of the legislators’ deliberations isn’t available from those days, but a 1999 Senate report says Florida legislators at the time were mad at Miller Brewing Co for building a plant in Georgia, and the size limitations were aimed at outlawing a 7 oz bottle sold by Miller.
***Updated April, 27, 2014 9:00 pm to reflect proposed strike-all amendment to Senate Bill 1714 filed by bill sponsor, Senator Kelli Stargel. Updates reflected as struck-through and underlined text.***
This past week saw action on only two beverage bills, but the action was dramatic. With one week remaining in the 2014 Florida legislative session, the story becomes a tale of two Senate bills.
Senate Bill 470 would have done nothing more than allow beer tastings at licensed retailers. Senate Bill 1714 would completely up-end how Florida breweries map a path to commercial success, putting a big toll on their access to consumers. Only one of these bills is poised to get a vote on the Senate floor–guess which one.
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The 2014 session of the Florida Legislature is two months from starting, but already two pairs of craft beer bills put growlers and beer tastings on tap.
Bills Authorizing Growlers & Tastings
That’s the claim made by some distributors, as reported in Craft Business Daily. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s Alan Shaw (@AlanCShaw) has been at the center of the conversation with his web article and the comments to it. Alan writes:
I understand why retailers and distributors are complaining about tasting rooms selling their packaged beer right to consumers, because the brewery has cut out the distributor and retailer in that transaction.
A number of retailers commented to Alan that they have no problem with brewery taprooms. However, that distributors and retailers might push back against taprooms is an expected consequence of the three-tier system. The three-tier system intentionally keeps the roles of brewers, distributors, and retailers separate, meaning that tension among them is inevitable.
The three-tier system has evolved separately in each state. In Florida, the system embraces brewery taprooms to “promote the brewery and the tourist industry of the state,” according to Section 561.221 of the Florida Statutes.
**Originally posted on Florida Beer News
Growlers—small, reusable, containers used to take tap-dispensed beer home from your favorite microbrewery—are a mainstay of craft beer culture and consumption. While craft beer is booming in Florida, the state has yet to adopt clear laws or regulations about the filling of growlers. In the Sunshine State, confusion about growlers abounds. This article addresses just one aspect of that confusion—who can fill growlers in Florida?
Brewery Taprooms Can Fill Growlers
Which license must a vendor have in Florida to sell beer, intended by the purchaser to be consumed off-premises, by filling and sealing the purchaser’s growler? It may be a straightforward question, but there is no definite answer in Florida law—neither in the Florida Statutes nor the Florida Administrative Code (the compilation of Florida’s administrative rules). Growler filling is generally permitted by brewery taprooms, which must have a CMB license to make beer and a 2COP license to sell beer or wine for consumption on or off premises. However, whether any other license holders can fill growlers is inexplicable, as demonstrated by two recent situations.
Tipple’s Brews Cannot Fill Growlers
Tipple’s Brews is a beer and wine bar and store in Gainesville, Florida. It has held a 2COP license since October 2009. According to the rules regulating the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (the ABT), which issues 2COP and other licenses, the 2COP allows the holder to sell beer and wine for consumption on the premises or in sealed containers for take-away. Tipple’s began filling growlers early in 2010. In May 2010, the ABT ordered Tipple’s to stop filling growlers. The ABT claimed that filling growlers without a manufacturer’s (CMB) license was a violation of Florida Statutes Section 562.34(1) and a felony.